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Finding the Right Ad Agency Partner

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There has been much written about the advertising agency business, and we’ve watched Mad Men, a period piece occurring in the 1960’s about the professional and personal lives of advertising men and women. It centered on the business of a fictional advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City. Many episodes dramatically showed the “agency pitch” where the fictional agency, Sterling Cooper & Partners, competed with other big agencies for a client’s business.

There is a prolific amount of documentation on the agency search process from the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), and the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies), as well as thousands of articles, blogs, and youtube videos. This blog will present some reasons why small and medium businesses might need an advertising agency and why it is important to find the right agency partner.

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Do I need an advertising agency?

Do I need an advertising agencyBefore beginning the search, the most important step for your company is to think critically about what the role of advertising will play in the objectives of the business.

  • Do I need to advertise? How will the advertising build my brand? Am I facing increasing competitive pressures? Do I have the resources to effectively bring in an advertising partner? For help in assessing your advertising needs, take this excellent, introspective Standardized Marketer New Business Questionnaire from the 4A’s.
  • Do I want to entrust my business and brand with any agency? That is why a true partnership is imperative in a client and agency relationship. The Webster definition of partnership is: “A relationship resembling a legal partnership and usually involving close cooperation between parties having specified and joint rights and responsibilities.” I especially like the simplistic definition for kids: “An arrangement in which people engage in an activity or business with one another or share something with each other.”

Why You Should Consider Hiring an Agency Partner

Why You Should Consider Hiring an Agency PartnerYou’ve done your homework and know that you want to establish and build a long-term partnership with the right advertising agency. You’ve learned that relationships matter from your experiences in hiring the right law firm, the right CPA firm, and the right information technology services firm. This is the critical insight for partnering with the right agency, who you will be entrusting the future of your brand.

There are many important considerations in finding the right agency partner. They’ll need to have the bandwidth to build the right brand strategy for your business, with the knowledge, skills and exceptional execution in options ranging from traditional advertising channels like local cable TV, radio, outdoor, newspaper and direct mail to digital marketing channels such as websites, social media, digital advertising, and marketing automation.

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The right agency partner will help you set the right strategy, execute the strategy fully, and measure the brand impact. As you consider your many choices – more than 37,000 advertising and marketing agencies with different specializations in the U.S. – stay focused on these important goals. Have your marketing team lead the search with active support from the senior management team. This is a long-term relationship that everyone needs to help build.

Now, go out and build that long-lasting partner relationship and enjoy the fruits of a healthy, strong and prosperous client/agency relationship.

About The Author

From market research to marketing strategy, from information technology to new services development, Herb’s expertise covers a lot of territory, both for Marketing In Color clients and for the company’s internal needs, too. He holds a BS degree in business administration and a MS degree in marketing, both earned at the University of Arizona. In more than 30 years of marketing industry experience, Herb has helped develop the brands of numerous household names, for breakfast cereals, hosiery, smokeless tobacco, and dozens more products.
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